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research articles
1. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Arnold Cusmariu The Cogito Paradox
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The Cogito formulation in Discourse on Method attributes properties to one conceptual category that belong to another. Correcting the error ends up defeating Descartes’ response to skepticism. His own creation, the Evil Genius, is to blame.
2. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Michael F. Duggan Looking for Black Swans: Critical Elimination and History
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This article examines the basis for testing historical claims and proffers the observation that the historical method is akin to the scientific method in that it utilizes critical elimination rather than justification. Building on the critical rationalism of Karl Popper – and specifically the deductive component of the scientific method called falsification – I examine his tetradic schema and adapt it for the specific purpose of historical analysis by making explicit a discrete step of critical testing, even though the schema is adequate as Popper expresses it and the elimination of error occurs at all steps of analysis. I also add a discrete step of critical elimination to Popper’s schema even though the elimination of error occurs at every step of analysis. The basis for critical elimination history is the demonstrable counterexample. The study of history will never approach the precision of science – history deals with open systems that cannot be replicated like experiments guided by fundamental laws. But just because we cannot know something with the rigor of science does not mean that we cannon know it better than we do. There may be no objective truth in an absolute sense, but there is a distinction to be made between well-tested and poorly tested theories and therefore between history done well and history done with less analytical rigor. What I hope to show is how our historical knowledge may progress through good faith critical discussion – history is discussion – and the elimination of error.
3. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Samson Liberman Attention Deficit: Alienation in Platform Capitalism
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The aim of this paper is a socio-philosophical analysis of attention deficit phenomenon, which is being detected at the intersection of several subject areas (psychiatry, theory of journalism, economics). The main methodological instrument of the study is a Marxist principle of alienation. Alienation of attention, which, on the one hand, is being understood as a process of producing attention as a commodity, and on the other one – as the process of producing a person as a user of the platform, provides the methodological basis, necessary for a holistic view of the phenomenon. The main differences of attention alienation from alienation of labor and desire are considered within the paper. The possibility of a modern form of alienation is associated primarily with the emergence of the new forms of capital – platforms, providing infrastructure for the interaction of other users and aimed at collection and procession of large amounts of data. The main aspects of attention management: game, content sharing and design have been distinguished within the paper. The main consequences of alienation of attention for the structure of the individual and society have been spelled out. The effects of the spread of gaming techniques of attention management and content distribution techniques specific to social networks have been considered. It being is suggested that there is a correlation between the spread of ADHD diagnosis and the spread of attention management technologies, and, as well, between the distribution of attention management technology and the ‘renaissance’ of social in the social theory.
4. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Daniel Rönnedal Perfect Happiness
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In this paper, I will develop a new theory of the nature of happiness, or “perfect happiness.” I will examine what perfect happiness is and what it is not and I will try to answer some fundamental questions about this property. According to the theory, which I shall call “the fulfillment theory,” perfect happiness is perfect fulfillment. The analysis of happiness in this paper is a development of the old idea that happiness is getting what you want and can be classified as a kind of desire-satisfaction theory. According to the fulfillment theory of happiness, it is necessarily the case that an individual x is perfectly happy if and only if all x’s wants are fulfilled. The interpretation of this basic definition is important, since the consequences of the particular version defended in this essay are radically different from the consequences of many other popular theories of happiness. The fulfillment theory is also quite different from most other desire-satisfaction theories of happiness. We will see that it has many interesting consequences and that it can be defended against some potentially serious counterarguments. The upshot is that the analysis of (perfect) happiness developed in the present paper is quite attractive.
5. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Rajesh Sampath The Question as to Why We Have to Live Out the Agony of Our Epoch and its Fundamental Un-Answerability: A Reading of the Preface to the 1967 Edition of Klossowski's Original 1947 Sade My Neighbor
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This paper excavates certain impulses that are buried in Pierre Klossowski’s 1968 edition of his original 1947 work, Sade My Neighbor. We argue that the self-suffocating nature of our historical present reveals the problem of an epochal threshold: in which twenty-first century democracy itself is threatened with death and violence in delusional neofascist attempts at national self-preservation. This speaks to a deeper enigma of time, epochal shifts, and the mystery of historical time; but it does so in a manner that escapes classical problems in the philosophy of history. Rather, by returning to Klossowski’s late 1940s and late 1960s contexts while reoccupying the New Testament question of Jesus’s foresakeness on the Cross, we unravel a series of paradoxes and aporias that attempt to deepen metaphysical problems of time, death, and the sovereign autonomy of human freedom and existence. Ultimately the paper concludes by offering certain speculative philosophical constructions on why today’s self-cannibalization of democracy has its roots in unresolved tensions that span these two poles: a.) the primordial secret of early Christian proclamation of Jesus’s death and b.) the post-Christian Sadean experiment of a philosophical revolution that was doomed to implode when the valorization of pain, suffering, and death fails to fill the vacuum left behind by atheism.
6. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
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7. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
About the Journal
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8. Symposion: Volume > 8 > Issue: 1
Author Guidelines
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9. Symposion: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Helen Beebee, Anne-Marie McCallion Diversity in Philosophy: Editors’ Introduction
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10. Symposion: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Zahra Thani, Derek Anderson Third-Order Epistemic Exclusion in Professional Philosophy
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Third-order exclusion is a form of epistemic oppression in which the epistemic lifeway of a dominant group disrupts the epistemic agency of members of marginalized groups. In this paper we apply situated perspectives in order to argue that philosophy as a discipline imposes third-order exclusions on members of marginalized groups who are interested in participating in philosophy. We examine a number of specific aspects of the epistemic lifeway embodied by academic philosophy and show how this produces inaccessibility to the discipline. In addition to critiquing the discipline and its methods we also use this discussion to elaborate on third-order exclusion itself. We conclude by proposing an intersectional pedagogy as a step toward creating a more accessible discipline.
11. Symposion: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Anne-Marie McCallion An Interview with Rianna Walcott
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This is an interview with Rianna Walcott, the co-founder of Project Myopia – a student-led initiative to decolonise university curricula. The discussion explores the difference between ‘diversity’ and ‘decolonisation’: how these two concepts relate to and contradict one another. Walcott outlines some of the recent student efforts to ‘decolonise’ the university and we discuss the extent to which this represents a paradoxical ambition, as well as the limitations of attempting to change the university from the inside. Walcott also explores the significance of some practical measures which can be – or have been – put into place when attempting to diversify or decolonise curricula, and we close by discussing the significance of Philosophy in particular with respect to decolonising efforts, and the steps which need to be taken in order to begin the process of ‘decolonising’ philosophy.
12. Symposion: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Helen Beebee, Anne-Marie McCallion In Defence of Different Voices
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Louise Antony draws a now well-known distinction between two explanatory models for researching and addressing the issue of women’s underrepresentation in philosophy – the ‘Different Voices’ (DV) and ‘Perfect Storm’ (PS) models – and argues that, in view of PS’s considerably higher social value, DV should be abandoned. We argue that Antony misunderstands the feminist framework that she takes to underpin DV, and we reconceptualise DV in a way that aligns with a proper understanding of the metaphilosophical framework that underpins it. On the basis of that reconceptualisation – together with the rejection of her claim that DV posits ‘cognitive’ differences between women and men – we argue that Antony’s negative assessment of DV’s social value is mistaken. And, we argue, this conclusion does not depend on endorsing the relevant feminist metaphilosophical framework. Whatever our metaphilosophical commitments, then, we should all agree that DV research should be actively pursued rather than abandoned.
13. Symposion: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Ian James Kidd Trade-offs, Backfires and Curriculum Diversification
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This paper presents two challenges faced by many initiatives that try to diversify undergraduate philosophy curricula, both intellectually and demographically. Trade-offs involve making difficult decisions to prioritise some values over others (like gender diversity over cultural diversity). Backfires involve unintended consequences contrary to the aims and values of diversity initiatives, including ones that compromise more general philosophical values. I discuss two specific backfire risks, involving the critical and political dimensions of teaching philosophy. Some general practical advice is offered along the way.
14. Symposion: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Nic R. Jones Philosophy for Everyone: Considerations on the Lack of Diversity in Academic Philosophy
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The lack of diversity in academic philosophy has been well documented. This paper examines the reasons for this issue, identifying two intertwining norms within philosophy which contribute to it: the assertion that the Adversary Method is the primary mode of argumentation and the excessive boundary policing surrounding what constitutes “real” philosophy. These norms reinforce each other, creating a space where diverse practitioners must defend their work as philosophy before it can be engaged with philosophically. Therefore, if we are to address the diversity issue, these norms must change. I advocate for the community of philosophical inquiry to serve as a new standard of practice, as it requires a simultaneous reimagining of both norms, thereby addressing the issues that arise from the two elements working in tandem. With its emphasis on epistemic openness and constructive collaboration, and a broader definition of philosophy which conceptualizes it as a method of questioning/analyzing rather than a particular subject matter, I posit that its implementation would facilitate a more welcoming climate for diverse practitioners. While these changes are unlikely to solve the diversity problem “once and for all,” I argue that they would significantly help to improve it.
15. Symposion: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Simon Fokt Categorical Imperfections: Marginalisation and Scholarship Indexing Systems
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The indexing systems used to systematise our knowledge about a domain tend to have an evaluative character: they represent some things as more important, general, complex, or central than others. They are also imperfect and can misrepresent something as more or less important, etc., than it really is. Such distortions mostly result from mistakes made due to lack of time or resources. In some cases they follow systematic patterns which can reveal the implicit judgements and values shared within a community who maintains and uses an index. I focus on the example of PhilPapers, the largest database of philosophy texts available, to show how the arrangement of categories and the way items are assigned to them, can effectively marginalise certain topics, authors, and entire traditions. I draw attention to such issues as: ordering, size and depth of categories, the use of miscellaneous categories, localising indexes in category names, and assigning items to some but not other categories. I suggest that such structuring of the index can have an impact on users, normalising marginalisation and contributing to the perpetuation of inequalities. I conclude by offering some suggestions for improvement which might help our databases flourish and become even more useful.
16. Symposion: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Yasemin J. Erden, Hannah M. Altorf Difficult Women in Philosophy: Reflections from the Margin
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In this paper we connect diversity with being on the margins of philosophy. We do this by reflecting on the programme that we, as diverse philosophers, designed and taught in a small university. Recently, the programme was closed. We examine some of the circumstances for the closure, in particular the impact of league tables. We argue that an idea (or ideal?) of objectivity, as a method in both science and philosophy, plays a role in establishing and maintaining the outsider status of the philosopher at the margins of the discipline. As a counterpoint to objectivity, we offer concrete examples of our experiences to illustrate what it is like to be at the margins of philosophy. We end with an examination of topics that are common to academics, i.e. issues of time and resources, that are compounded at the margins. Our paper seeks to show what is lost by the closure of our programme, and what philosophy loses when marginalised philosophers are silenced and/or excluded from key academic discourse. We argue that the particular contribution of the philosopher at the margin offers an important and irreplaceable contribution to discourses on the identity of philosophy and on the value of diversity.
17. Symposion: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Karoline Reinhardt Between Identity and Ambiguity: Some Conceptual Considerations on Diversity
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Diversity matters – theoretically and practically, within philosophy and beyond. It is less clear, however, how we are to conceive of diversity. In current debates it is quite common to discuss diversity as a diversity of social identities. In this paper, I will raise five major concerns with regard to this approach from a philosophical perspective. All of them cast doubt on the flexibility and openness to ambiguity of identity-based concepts of diversity. Contrary to an identity-based concept of diversity, I will propose a perspective that stresses ambiguity and fluidity. In pursuing my argument, I will, after an introduction in §1, outline in §2 how the term ‘diversity’ is commonly used and how social identities come into the picture. In §3, I describe the dangers of an identity-based diversity concept. In my critique I will build on Adorno's thoughts on the formation of concepts and on Appiah's reflections on identity. I will illustrate my critique with examples from a growing field of Applied Ethics, data ethics. In §4, I will sketch an alternative understanding of human diversity, taking up considerations by Thomas Bauer on ambiguity and ambiguity tolerance.
18. Symposion: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
Cecilea Mun The Many Harms of SETs in Higher Education
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In this paper, I call attention to the problem of continuing to rely on SETs for hiring, reappointment, promotion, and award decisions in higher education, including the problem of continuing to permit the use of SETs despite the clear and explicit acknowledgement of their shortcomings. I argue that to do so manifests a failure to acknowledge the weight of the actual and potential harms of SETs. I then provide an outline of such harms in order to clearly convey not only the weight but also the extent of such harms, especially on marginalized job candidates and non-privileged students. I also report the results of a recent survey I conducted in order to document any actual or possible harms that were committed against professional educators by the use of SETs in hiring, reappointment, or promotion decisions. I conclude by arguing that, given all of the foregoing, the use of SETs should be abolished for hiring, reappointment, promotion, and award decisions in higher education.
19. Symposion: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
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20. Symposion: Volume > 7 > Issue: 2
About the Journal
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